Round and About in Old Isleworth

The part of Isleworth Riverside Conservation Area known now as Old Isleworth Four Roads still exudes community camaraderie. Residents come together to fund abundant hanging baskets on heritage style lamp standards while a band of volunteers ensure these are adequately watered, as well as maintaining a small patch of land at the end of Algar Road.  Perhaps this is not so surprising when reading an account published by one of them, Robin Dickers, under the title, The Sorrel Field – Market Garden and Walled Estate 1717-1985.  Recounted is the fact that within living memory contained within the locality was a well-supported dance hall and popular play area for children with swings and roundabouts. 

The area the publication covers is Algar Road/Close, Byfield and Tolson Roads as well as Worple Road Nos. 1-52.  Also encompassed now is Carrick Close a cul-de-sac of bungalows built in the early 1980s where the play area once stood.   Stainton Terrace is another recent addition tucked into a corner of Algar Close, consisting of six town houses. On the 1813-19 Parish Enclosure Award Map plots 510 and 511 at this location are    described as “Market Garden in the ownership of Matthew Stainton Esquire”, hence the name awarded to the properties when built in 2015.  Mr Dickers’ account ranges over the transition of the area from market gardens to residential, where formerly there were shops, the war years, to a long-running spat between two 90 year olds living opposite each other, and much more.

Isleworth resident and Councillor for Osterley & Spring Grove, Tony Louki has been elected as Hounslow’s Mayor for the municipal year from May.  One of his chosen charities, for which he will raise monies during his term of office, is the Our Barn Community.  Its objective is to bridge the gap, for young people with learning difficulties and other disabilities, between formal education and adult life.  It is principally aimed at those aged 16-25.  Among the wide ranging activities organised is a youth club at Redlees Paly Centre, multi-sports at Isleworth Leisure Centre and a gardening project in Osterley Park, where it has recently also started to offer disabled friendly cycling sessions. This is made possible through the buddy bicycle scheme using adapted tricycles for two.  The Mayor’s further charity is Hounslow Seniors’ Trust.  Among its activities is that they organise the Annual Older People’s 50+ Festivals.  In its 26th year the Festival brochure for July 2019 is now available in libraries etc.  On offer is a wide-ranging programme of coach outings, museum visits, music and creativity exhibitions and concerts.

Staying with activities, Feltham & Whitton Lions are holding a Lions’ Family Fun Day at The Old Isleworthians’ Sports Ground, Wood Lane, Isleworth, TW7 5ED from 11.00 – 5 p.m. on Bank Holiday Monday 26th August. It will be along the same lines as successful events held at Redlees Park in 2016 and 2017.  Apart from the usual attractions of charity stalls, food and live music, already signed up are rides provided by Fuller’s Brewery shire horses, Pride and Griffin, and demonstrations by the Essex Dog DisplayTeam. 

Following further reports on its inaccuracy more work was carried out on the War Memorial clock and for a few weeks it showed the correct time.  Sad to say though at the time of going to print it has reverted to its preferred status of being 10 minutes wrong.  The surrounding landscaped area appears to have come out in sympathy purveying a run-down demeanour.  Day to day maintenance is looked after by Hounslow Highways, but responsibility for renewal of old and planting new when needed lies with the Council. The horse trough is scheduled to be planted twice yearly but the rest of soft landscaping is a mass of tired overgrown shrubs with many a bare patch gradually being covered by weeds and tall unwanted grass. 

This sorry state of Memorial Square has been raised with the Council with a view to working with TIS to come up with a planting plan as well as the necessary funding.  The idea has been promoted bearing in mind that 2022 is not so very far away and June that year will see the 100th anniversary of unveiling of the area’s centre piece, the Clock Tower War Memorial.  It underwent considerable restoration at the turn of this millennium.  The work included cleaning the memorial, repairs to the steps plus partial replacement of eroded commemorative tablets recording the 390 names.  It was enabled by a grant of £5,000 from English Heritage together with £17,000 raised from donations by the Isleworth War Memorial Restoration Project led by Rosemary Bunce.  When the memorial was constructed in 1922 it cost £615.7s.7d, again raised by local subscription.

The future looks brighter for All Saints’ churchyard following a meeting, brought about by Revd Ali Walton and a bit of assistance from TIS, with officers of Greenspace 360, the Council’s leisure provider, and Council officers.   As a result, a detailed plan has now been drawn up with a principal aim of taming the long-neglected undergrowth to a more manageable condition.   In summary work to be undertaken over a period involves increasing some of the amenity grass area, introducing a grass pathway through the overgrown vegetation, reducing the vegetation height to improve sightlines and expose memorial stones, planting of bulbs along the approach road borders; repairs to the hazardous paved path leading to the Park Road gate.  The latter will involve removing two steps to increase accessibility into the churchyard, while the rear boundary walls, some of which are in very poor condition, will also be repaired. Enquiries are on-going as to whether the walls are Grade ll listed in line with All Saints’ Church and the retaining wall at the front.

The Council is looking to develop a Transport for London funded cycle improvement scheme between Twickenham Station and Brentford, via Worple Road, South Street, Lower Square, Church Street and through Syon Park.    The initial proposal involves closing Upper Square to traffic to create a shared use space for pedestrians and cyclists.   Full details are being worked on so look out for a formal consultation likely to take place around the end of June providing the opportunity to comment for all those who wish to do so.

Progress on transforming what was formerly known locally as the Pit Park into Northcote Avenue Nature Park has stalled somewhat in that a management plan was approved 2-3 years ago.  This included creating a River Crane inlet.  At the time of this agreement it was indicated planning permission was not necessary, now it appears it is needed.  To assist in progressing the plans the Council has enlisted London Wildlife Trust’s help alongside Friends of Northcote Nature Park, who continue with their efforts to make sure general maintenance is carried out satisfactorily.

At Redlees the new event area named The Courtyard is now open. Unfortunately, the hard landscaping surface was not sufficiently compacted causing an unsightly mess through surplus gravel spreading on to the adjacent main path.  Two new conventional benches have been installed in the main park, a total of six is anticipated utilising the £20,000 CIL/S106 monies allocated at TIS’s request.  Refurbishment work to existing benches has also been promised as well as cleaning of existing litter and dog waste bins with any found beyond repair replaced.  In addition, Redlees has been chosen as a pilot to test opinion of a new style of noticeboard which it is proposed will, if regarded favourably, become the standard for parks Boroughwide. The Stables will be worth a visit 15-16th June 11.00 to 5 p.m. when it is hosting an Art for All exhibition of works by a local community art group led by Sandra Beccarelli,

Various work continues on the nature side of Silverhall Park.  Greenspace 360 visited early April to carry out pruning work to the damaged Mulberry, but rather a lot of off-shots still protrude through the perimeter railings.  The general belief has not been dispelled that stronger growth would be encouraged by further pruning back.  Although details have yet to be firmed up a Fun Day of family activities as well as some volunteering tasks is in the planning stage to take place Saturday 27th July, 11:00 a.m.- 3 p.m.

Getting the Council to commission renovation of the two London Road listed milestones for which TIS secured S106/CIL monies is moving at snails’ pace. One close to 661 London Road denotes Heston Parish while the second for Isleworth Parish is outside aptly named Milestone Court. The hope is to see the work completed by the year end. 

Better progress can be reported on the necessary works to restore the 1880s ornamental pillars and gate at the vehicle entrance of Isleworth Cemetery. There was a hiccup when further work than that originally estimated was discovered which, although not essential, was desirable in the long term interest and so further monies had to be secured.   The Council officer leading this project has now found funding and all that is holding up the work is agreement of a traffic management plan, necessary during work to dismantle the gates, to enable renovation to commence.  This should come about shortly

The 235 bus runs along London Road on its journey from Sunbury to the Great West Quarter (GWQ) Brentford but during late April/early May it was terminating early at Morrisons in Brentford High Street.  This was occasioned, not for the first time, by a damaged barrier at GWQ preventing access for buses.   During investigations into the abrupt curtailing of the buses journey it transpired this route is the longest in London and requires rest points for the drivers; one is at GWQ, the other Morrisons.  Until the next mishap with the barrier normal service has now been restored.

Staying with transport there is welcome news about Isleworth station with an announcement by the Department of Transport that it will be one of five on the South Western line to receive significant funding to improve accessibility.  This work is scheduled to take place over the next five years although exact details of what will ensue are not yet known.  There is undoubtedly also a lot of room for improvement to the station building itself and it remains to be seen what if any will result.  It also goes without saying that enhanced maintenance of the landscaped area within the car park would not go amiss nor clearance of accumulated rubbish under St John’s Road bridge.

The vicinity of London Road where the station stands, as well as outside the shops in the adjoining St John’s Road, has been increasingly blighted over past months by daily flytipping of black rubbish bags particularly beside litter bins. Following frequent complaints Hounslow’s Neighbourhood Enforcement Team has endeavoured to contact, in person and by letter, residents and shop keepers at these locations in an effort to educate the culprits that behaviour like this is unacceptable and can lead to substantial fines. This aspect of anti-social behaviour highlights the need for all residents to be vigilant and to report such practices when spotted.  Only by receiving a build-up of similar reports is it likely that enforcement action will be undertaken.  It is important individual instances each time they happen they are reported to Hounslow Highways either via their website www.hounslowhighways.org or phoning 020 8583 2000.

Within North Street there is a small area of disused land formerly occupied by an electricity sub-station which has now become a dumping ground for rubbish. Again, the Council’s Neighbourhood Enforcement Team has been alerted and is endeavouring to ascertain ownership to enable ordering the owners to remove this unsightly mess which continues to increase week by week.

On an allied topic, when the planning application was submitted in 2017 to convert sheltered accommodation at 37-71 Wynne Court Hartland Road into 18 units of general housing, among TIS’s objections was that the property was purpose built as 38 single dwelling units and thus not large enough and lacked amenity space to house 18 families with possibly 100 occupants. A large part of the concern was that existing external bin stores were cited to be used with no account taken of the need for enlarged waste storage and collection facilities.  It seemed obvious continuation of existing arrangements would be inadequate for the vastly increased number of occupants.  Clearly this was not apparent to Planning Committee Councillors who approved the proposal unchanged.  Unsurprisingly it came to pass that following occupation of the renovated Wynne Court, residents living nearby have been plagued by the sight of persistent flytipping and overflowing bins. Following justified complaints from these residents Hounslow Housing has now had to undertake a revamp of the refuse arrangements.

Talking of developments, Tesco made the following statement in April “We are pleased to announce that we have entered into an agreement with Berkeley Homes (St Edward) with the intention of moving to a brand new Tesco Extra store to be developed on the nearby Homebase site at Gillette Corner. Under the plans, our existing Osterley Tesco Extra store will continue to serve customers as normal for a number of years, until the new store is built and ready to open. Once we have moved, Berkeley Homes will undertake a mixed-use redevelopment of the site.  These plans will be subject to a full planning application process by St Edward, including consultation with the local community, and will take a number of years to develop. We will be sure to keep the local community updated on our plans going forward”.  A booth is destined to appear in the existing Tesco car park displaying further information about these plans.

TAILEND MORSELS

Dates set for Shrewsbury Walk/South Street Markets are 15th June, 13th July, 14th September.  A St George’s Fun Day at the Red Lion, Linkfield Road raised £1,250 for lst Osterley Scouts. Early in May travellers invaded the Homebase site at Gillette Corner leaving less than 24 hours later as a result of Council and Police contact with owner’s Prudential’s agents, CBRE. Thames Water has given their usual summer reminder that hundreds of mosquito eggs can grow in a standing cup of water. Tips to stop this and keep mosquitoes under control, include, keeping gutters and flat roofs clear, changing bird bath water once a week, checking the lid is tightly on rain water butts and turning over unused garden containers. Spraying to curtail weeds that currently look in danger of taking over pavements, public footpaths and kerb edges, is scheduled by Hounslow Highways for between 11th-20th June for Syon Ward; 28th May-11th June Isleworth Ward. The next consultation stage in the Local Government Boundary Commission for England’s review of Ward Boundaries commenced 4th June running to 12th August.  Its aim is to ensure ward boundaries reflect interests and identities of local communities as well as promoting effective local government. Details of Hounslow’s proposals and submissions can be found at:- www.lgbce.org.uk/all-reviews/greater-london/greater-london/hounslow